Myth of the Free Thinker

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

I say, “Free thinkers don’t exist.”

You’d probably react, “That’s not true because I’m a free thinker.” You’ll give a list of reasons including; I make up my own mind, I listen to both sides and make a decision, and I do my own research.

All of these reasons are good and right to do, but they prove one thing; you will consider yourself a free thinker when you stop thinking like one group and start thinking like another.

There’s a way to avoid the pitfalls of the “Free Thinker” dogma and start thinking for yourself. As the Lord said to Isaiah, “Come, let us reason together[1]Isaiah 1:18.”

The Accepted Thoughts

You might think being a freethinker means: if by reason and logic you come to the conclusion Jesus Christ is real and he taught the truth, you’d be accepted as a freethinker. You’d be wrong.

You might think being a freethinker means: if by reason and logic you come to the conclusion materialism and atheism are self-defeating, you’d be accepted as a freethinker. You’d be wrong.

Dear friends, to truly be a freethinker, you must think the accepted thoughts.

Now you may be thinking, “Who are you to make this claim, Mr. Armchair?”

A fair question. I decided to think for myself and do some research. The journey took me to some surprising places.

Merriam-Webster

The best way to start any search is to define what you’re searching for, but that’s just me appealing to authority which is so non-freethinker, I don’t like to think about it.

Merriam-Webster defines a freethinker as

One who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially: one who doubts or denies religious dogma

This definition is shared by atheism.about.comSKP Freethinkers, sort of by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, but certainly by the Urban dictionary.

I’d boil the definition down the way mom always did; don’t take someone else’s word for it, figure it out for yourself. This approach, while important, must be rationed. Imagine every doctor starting from scratch. What’s a germ? How do you set a bone? How do you do liposuction? Can you imagine the terror in a surgery patient’s eyes when you tell them, “I’m learning human anatomy.” Using this approach we’d have 3 doctors on the whole planet. Maybe 4, but certainly not 5.

The second part of the definition is curious: “Especially one who doubts or denies religious dogma.” Correct me, if I’m wrong, and I don’t think I am, but isn’t that defining what a freethinker can…you know…think? Why would doubting, or denying, religious dogma make you a free thinker anymore than doubting or denying secular dogma? If you think it’s because religious people don’t do research than you haven’t done yours and you’re not thinking for yourself. Does this really make you a “free thinker”?

There’s a section of the Merriam-Webster entry titled: Rhymes with freethinker and I’m afraid they’re not complimentary.

Rhymes with freethinker: headshrinker, hoodwinker, nondrinker.

The Freethought Society

A freethinker ought to be free to think whatever they like based on sound reasoning. The whole idea is not to appeal to authority, but to come to your own conclusions.

Search the internet. Don’t just stick with those fascist search engines like Google and Bing. Broaden your horizons and be a Freesearcher (trademark pending). Try DuckDuckGo, Gigablast, Startpage, or even Dogpile – just watch your step.

You’ll eventually come across a site called the Freethought Society. They recently changed their name. They were The Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia. Since they discovered a lot more people, even beyond Philly, thought exactly the same way, they changed the name to something more comprehensive. The 10 member board of directors “unanimously voted to change the name of the organization to the Freethought Society.” Amazing! 10 freethinkers thinking exactly the same thing. What are the odds?

I think what they really need to do is reconsider their membership guidelines. One of the comments about the name change was most curious.

“One of the things I like about freethought is that it is, by nature of it’s very name, open to personal interpretation.” -K Cook

Mr. Cook should be summarily dismissed. If he is, indeed, even a member. Freethought open to interpretation? Has he not read the strict definition of the word completely disallows the idea of personal interpretation? Are there no standards anymore?

Think for Yourself

As a Christian, it is paramount we study the Scriptures and study nature. Christianity is not at odds with science. God gave us this amazing universe and said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…[2]Genesis 1:28” Knowing God doesn’t want us to destroy His creation, the only way to subdue it is to understand it. The only way to understand it, is to study it.

We humans are not omniscient. Sometimes we come across things confusing to us. Some take this a threat to their faith and others an opportunity to grow in their faith. It’s an opportunity to think for yourself.

Think for yourself and don’t be afraid of opposing ideas, study them. Reject the premise disagreement equals free thinking. Disagreement can born out of pride and misunderstanding as much careful study.

If, through careful study of the Scriptures and nature, you come to the conclusion God is the creator and Jesus is the Messiah, you’ll know you’re thinking for yourself. Let them call you brainwashed. They only do it because other “free thinkers” told them to treat you that way.

If you come to the opposite conclusion, I’ll respect your decision and I’ll pray for you. I disagree with you, but I won’t diminish you by saying you’re brain-washed.

A New Definition

You’re not a freethinker because you stopped thinking like one group to think like another.

I’m offering another definition. A free thinker is someone who, after thoughtful study, may, or may not agree with accepted ideas.

Think for yourself.

The thinking machine inside your skull was put there to reason.

References

References
1 Isaiah 1:18
2 Genesis 1:28
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